If you’ve recently been diagnosed with a meningioma, you may be feeling overwhelmed, scared, and stressed.
While any diagnosis is scary, a meningioma has several treatment options, making it potentially overwhelming to pick which one is best for you. So how do you determine which treatment to go with?
This article will focuses on the different meningioma treatment options and which are the most effective for curing them.
Meningiomas are slow-growing tumors that develop on the meninges, the protective membrane covering the brain and spinal cord. Meningiomas are a common type of brain tumor that is usually benign but should still be observed to make sure that they don’t spread.
Even though benign meningiomas may not need treatment right away, their growth can cause serious health issues later.
Meningiomas are categorized into 3 grades depending on their growth rate and other characteristics.
- Grade I meningiomas are tumors that grow slowly and are benign.
- Grade II (atypical) meningiomas are tumors that are likely to grow back even after treatment.
- Grade III (anaplastic) meningiomas are made up of more aggressive meningioma cells. Although rare, these meningiomas grow fast and need treatment promptly.
Each of these grades have further subtypes of meningiomas. Your doctor can determine what type you have based on the tumor location, growth pattern, age, and other genetic findings.
Because these tumors often put pressure on the brain, they can cause many symptoms that range from mild to severe. Depending on where the meningioma is located and its grade, you may experience some of these symptoms:
- Progressive weakness
- Vision problems
- Hearing loss
- Mood swings
- Personality changes
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you should consult with your doctor. Whether you’ve been diagnosed with a meningioma or not, these can be signs of a brain tumor or another serious health concern that you shouldn’t ignore.
To get a diagnosis of having a meningioma, you’ll need to go through some imaging procedures. The most effective tests that will show meningiomas are an MRI or a CT scan of the brain. Both of these procedures are outpatient but require a doctor’s referral.
Many meningiomas are found “incidentally”. For example, some people will get an MRI for headaches or after a car accident and find that a meningioma is present. Most often, these “incidental meningiomas are simply followed “conservatively” over several months to years to see if they can grow.
If your doctor has found meningiomas from the scan, they should be able to assess them and determine if you need treatment immediately. Some low-grade tumors may just need monitoring for growth before your doctor recommends treatment options.
Meningioma Treatment Options
Finding out that you have a meningioma can be scary, especially when you have to get treatment as soon as possible. Fortunately, there are a variety of treatment options available. Some of these options may be better suited for your needs depending on the types of tumors you’ve got.
Brain Tumor Surgery
Brain tumor surgery is just what it sounds like, traditional “open” surgery to remove brain and skull base tumors. Neurosurgeons remove as much of the tumor as possible while trying to preserve the surrounding brain tissue.
Brain tumor surgery is usually an effective treatment but can pose other risks depending on the size and location of the tumors.
Computer Assisted Surgery (CAS)
Computer-assisted surgery is a type of brain tumor surgery that uses computer technology to help neurosurgeons be more precise and less invasive. For brain surgery, computers will create a 3D model of your brain for the surgeon to use as a guide.
This technology has made some operations that seemed impossible possible. With accurate models of the brain, surgeons can remove tumors more completely without damaging healthy brain tissues.
For the purpose of treating meningiomas, embolization is the process of stopping the blood flow to the tumors. Embolization can reduce the growth of meningiomas and make them easier to remove. Embolization is used along with surgery for the best results.
Gamma Knife Radiosurgery
Gamma knife radiosurgery, or stereotactic radiosurgery, is actually a form of radiation surgery and doesn’t involve any traditional “open” surgery or even a knife. This procedure uses gamma rays to accurately target brain tumors without radiating the rest of the brain.
Gamma knife radiosurgery works by killing the DNA of the tumor to prevent the cells from reproducing. The treatment should cause your tumor to stop growing and hopefully kill it completely.
While Gamma knife radiosurgery can be as effective as brain surgery, it can also treat tumors too difficult to reach for standard neurosurgery.
Gamma knife radiosurgery is a relatively pain-free procedure that lasts about 70 minutes and can be repeated if necessary. Because this procedure doesn’t involve actual surgery, it has a much easier recovery and doesn’t require a hospital stay.
Reach Out for a Consultation
There are many options available for meningioma treatment, but most of them are intimidating. Brain surgery can be invasive and has a longer recovery period than some of the other treatment options available.
Gamma knife radiosurgery is an effective treatment option that isn’t invasive and often poses less procedural risk than traditional surgery.
If you’re looking for more information about Gamma Knife, request a consultation with us. We will come up with a treatment plan that you’re comfortable with so you can get back to living your life.